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(LEAD) New virus cases stay below 30 for 4th straight day

All News 10:34 April 16, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; ADDS more info in paras 2, 5, 8-13)

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases hovered below 30 for the fourth straight day Thursday, but health authorities are still staying vigilant over imported cases and cluster infections following the parliamentary elections the previous day.

The 22 new cases, detected Wednesday and slightly down from 27 a day ago, brought the nation's total infections to 10,613, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

A teacher uses an online learning program at an empty classroom at an elementary school in Seoul on April 16, 2020, amid the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Yonhap)

Thursday's new virus cases also mark a sharp drop from the Feb. 29 peak of 909 new cases. The country's daily number of new virus cases has been below 50 for the last eight days.

But health authorities remain on high alert over new cases coming from overseas, as well as cluster infections at churches and hospitals. They are also keeping an eye on those who retested positive for COVID-19.

Of the 22 new cases, half of them were from overseas.

The nation's death toll from the new coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, rose by four to 229, according to the KCDC.

The number of patients released from quarantine after making full recoveries reached 7,757, up 141 from a day earlier.

Voters form a long line to cast their ballots at a polling station in the southeastern city of Daegu on April 15, 2020, amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

The southeastern city of Daegu, the nation's worst virus-hit region, and its surrounding North Gyeongsang Province each added four new cases.

The total number of cases reported in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province has now reached 6,827 and 1,352, respectively.

Other major provinces and cities also reported infections, with Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province adding two and four new cases, respectively.

The country detected four new cases coming from overseas at border checkpoints. The total number of imported cases is now at 967.

Since April 1, South Korea has enforced mandatory 14-day self-quarantines for all travelers coming from overseas to better contain imported cases.

Seeking to reduce the daily number of new infections to below 50, South Korea has extended strict guidelines on social distancing by two weeks to Sunday.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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